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Magnum P.I. meets Vangelis meets Bladerunner

October 3, 2008

Over here in Vancouver they show an episode of Magnum P.I. every day.  Great show – just as good as I remember it, though my favourite character is still Higgins (not sure what that says about me).  Earlier this week though I came across something very bizarre at the start of the episode.

Check out this video of the opening few minutes from Magnum P.I.  Specifically it’s from the season 5 episode “Echoes of the Mind Part 1”, which was originally broadcast 27th September 1984.  See if you can hear anything familiar?

Well, yes, Sharon Stone is in it.  Which is interesting in itself.  But what about the music, recognise it?  Well if you’re a science-fiction fan you should!  Take a listen to the end credits of Bladerunner here:

That’s right.  It’s the same music, composed by the incredible composer Vangelis who also composed the famous Chariots of Fire theme. The Bladerunner version is much better – but then again what would you expect.

But how did this happen? Bladerunner was released in the US on June 25th 1984, over two years before the Magnum episode.

Bladerunner was distributed by Warner Bros. whereas Magnum P.I. was first shown on CBS who don’t, as far as I can tell, have any formal connection between each other. Presumably CBS must have purchased the rights to use the theme from either Vangelis or Warner (or both), but why did they say yes? It’s not like the theme is used to reference Bladerunner in any way, it’s just being used as incidental music.

This seems bizarre to me to say the least. Anyone know any more details?

-Scott

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